DENTAL AMALGAM MERCURY SOLUTIONS www.flcv.com/dams.html
THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF AMALGAM FILLINGS AFFECT EVERYONE
THE FOLLOWING FINDINGS ARE DOCUMENTED IN THIS Review Paper:
1. Human excretion into sewers by those with amalgam dental fillings along with dental office amalgam waste have been documented to be the largest source of mercury into sewers and septic tanks.
2. All sewer plants in the
3. Dental amalgam fillings are a major source of mercury going into rivers, lakes, and bays, both from dental offices and human wastes in home and office sewers. Dentistry is the third largest use of mercury in the U.S. using 45 tons per year most of which ends up in the environment.
4. Mercury pollution is
5. Mercury is the most toxic
substance commonly encountered, and is adversely affecting
the health of millions of people in the
6. If sewer sludge is incinerated, most of the mercury goes into emissions.
7. Crops grown on land using sewer sludge pick up high levels of mercury. Soil bacteria in landfills and land spread sludge areas methylate mercury to methyl mercury, which is released in methane and landfill gas in high levels.
High levels of mercury are being found in rain all over the U.S.
8. Dental Amalgam fillings are the largest source of mercury in most people and levels of mercury exposure from amalgam commonly exceeds Government Health Guidelines, with high levels in human excretion wastes documented.
9. The level of mercury
in all sewer plants in the
10. Crematoria emissions commonly violate mercury air emission standards and are a significant source of mercury emissions due to mercury in amalgam fillings. Amalgam related air emissions exceed coal plant emissions in UK.
11. Due to the high
mercury releases from dental offices, most European countries require amalgam
separators in dental offices but the
Mercury is one of the most toxic
substances commonly encountered, and according to Government agencies causes
adverse health effects in large numbers of people in the
Mercury has been found to be so toxic that the drinking water standard for mercury is 2 parts per billion(ppb). But U.S. EPA have found that because mercury bioaccumulates in the environment and fish, in order to protect from accumulation in fish and wildlife and human health even lower standards appear to be needed and lower standards have been proposed or adopted in many areas(14). The Great Lakes Initiative Wildlife Criteria calculated needed to prevent accumulation in fish and wildlife is 1.3 nanagrams per Liter(ng/L) while the GLI Human Health Criteria is 3.1 ng/L(parts per trillion). The EPA Fish Tissue Methyl Mercury-based Criteria for rivers is 7.8 ng/L and for lakes is 3.5 ng/L. The California Toxics Rule Saltwater Criteria is 25 ng/L(14). The EEU limit on mercury in sewers is 50 micrograms per liter(31).
The average amalgam filling has more than ˝ gram of mercury, and has been documented to continuously leak mercury into the body of those with amalgam fillings due to the low mercury vapor pressure and galvanic current induced by mixed metals in the mouth(20). Amalgam has been well documented to be the number one source of mercury in most people(19,20) and to commonly cause serious adverse health effects(20). Amalgam has also been documented to be the largest source of methyl mercury in most people, since mercury vapor and inorganic mercury have been shown to be methylated to methyl mercury in the mouth and intestines by bacteria, yeasts and other methyl donors(20). Mercury has also been found to be methylated in dental office disposal and sewer systems at levels orders of magnitude higher than in lakes and rain(4d).
Because of the extreme toxicity of mercury,
only ˝ gram is required to contaminate the ecosystem and fish of a 10 acre lake
to the extent that a health warning would be issued by the government to not
eat the fish.
Over half the rivers and lakes along with most bays in
Nationwide the dental industry is the third
largest user of mercury, using over 45 tons of mercury per year(26,14),
and most of this mercury eventually ends up in the environment. Amalgam from dental offices is by far the
largest contributor of mercury(over 35% of total) into
sewers and sewer plants(4,13b,14,26), with mercury from replaced amalgam
fillings and crown bases the largest source. When amalgam fillings are removed
by standard practice methods using primary and secondary solids collectors,
approximately 60% of the amalgam metals by weight end up in sewer effluent(28b). As much as 10% of prepared new amalgam
becomes waste. This mercury also accumulates in building sewer pipes and septic
tanks or drain fields where used, creating toxic liabilities. Unlike Canada and most European countries such as Germany, Sweden,
Switzerland, and Denmark which have much
more stringent regulation of mercury that requires amalgam separators in dental
offices(26,28,22), the U.S. does not and most dental offices do not have
them. The discharge into sewers at a
dental office per dentist using amalgam without amalgam separators is between
56 milligrams per day(14) and 270 milligrams per
day(4,14,26). (some studies found much higher levels
for some offices) For the
Studies in Michigan, California, and
Washington estimated that dental mercury is responsible for approximately 12
to14 % of mercury discharged to streams (5). An EPA study(13)
found that dental office waste were responsible for similar levels of mercury
in lakes, bays, and streams in other areas throughout the
The total discharge into sewers from dental amalgam at individual homes and businesses
second only to that from dental offices(14), since the average person with amalgam fillings excretes in body waste
approximately 40 micrograms per day of
mercury(6,7,8,20,31a). This has also been confirmed by medical labs(13c), such as Doctors Data Lab in
MCES found that dental offices were
responsible for over 40% of Mineapolis sewer mercury
and excretion from those with amalgam responsible for over 80% of domestic
mercury(4). According to an EPA study
the majority of
ORNL studies have found that crops grown on land using land spread sewer sludge pick up high levels of mercury, and soil bacteria methylate inorganic mercury into methyl mercury, which is released into the air or landfill gas at high levels(22,23a). Sixty percent of the 5.6 million tons of sewage sludge generated each year are used for land application(27). The ORNL studies estimate that emissions of mercury from sludge amended soil amounts to from 5 to 6 tons of mercury per year(23a). Most dental amalgam waste from dental offices either goes into landfills or is incinerated(26). Much of the sewer sludge is also incinerated. Most of the mercury in materials that are incinerated goes out in the emissions, as most incinerators have no controls to remove mercury. High levels of mercury including the very toxic organic forms are being measured in rainfall throughout the U.S.(24). High levels of the extremely toxic dimethyl and methylmercury forms of mercury are being found in landfill gas coming from landfills and appear to be a significant source of some of this(22,24). Bacteria in landfills have been found to be methylating elemental and inorganic mercury to the organic forms(22a,23a). Dental amalgam waste and mercury from human sewer sludge are major sources of mercury in some landfills and sludge is also used in landspreading on farms and other areas. Health Canada has also documented similar information on mercury emissions from amalgam and sewer sludge to waterways, crops, and air(28,29).
Additionally cremation of those with amalgam
fillings adds to air emissions and deposition onto land and lakes. A study in Switzerland found that in that
small country, cremation released over 65 kilograms of mercury per year as
emissions, often exceeding site air mercury standards(9), while another Swiss
study found mercury levels during cremation of a person with amalgam fillings as
high as 200 micrograms per cubic meter(considerably higher than U.S. mercury
standards). The amount of mercury in
the mouth of a person with fillings was on average 2.5 grams, enough to
contaminate 5 ten acre lakes to the extent there would be dangerous levels in fish(2,20). A
Japanese study estimated mercury emissions from a small crematorium there as 26
grams per day(10).
A study in Sweden found significant occupational and environmental
exposures at crematoria, and since the requirement to install selenium filters
mercury emission levels in crematoria have been reduced 85%(11). For the 70% of people in Britain who
die and end up with their bodies being cremated, the mercury escapes into the atmosphere and
contaminates waterways, soil, wildlife
and food. Crematoria now contribute 16% of all the mercury released by industry
plants in Britain(32), with levels projected to soon exceed emissions by
power/industrial plants(32b). The 440,000 people cremated in Britain every year
are estimated to discharge 1300kg of mercury(12) A study of assessing hair mercury in a group
of staff at some of the 238 British crematoriums found that the groups hair
mercury were significantly greater than that of controls(12). Government guidance calls on them to introduce new flue cleaning
measures to help achieve a statutory target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2012.
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(2) Electric Power Research Institute. Mercury in the Environment. Electric EPRI Journal 1990; April, p5; & EPRI Technical Brief:"Mercury in the Environment", 1993
(3) Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Toxicology, Health Advisories for Mercury in Florida Fish 1997; 10-15; & B.Windham, Mercury levels in Florida freshwater and saltwater fish and effects on people, www.flcv.com/flhg.html
(4)Arenholt‑Bindslev, D.; Larsen, A.H. "Mercury Levels and Discharge in Waste Water from Dental Clinics" Water Air Soil Pollution, 86(1‑4):93‑9, (1996); & (b)Assoc. of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies(AMSA), Evaluation of Domestic Sources of Mercury , Aug 2000, www.amsa‑cleanwater.org/pubs/mercury/mercury.cfm
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(12) Maloney S. et al, Nene Univ. College, Northhampton, Crematoria staff face risk from mercury in tooth fillings. Brit Med Journal, 2000; & V. Mc Donald, health Corresponsdent, Daily Telegraph; & Department of the Environment, Transport, and the Regions (DETR)- London, & Rob Edwards, Environment Editor, Dublin Sunday Herald, Feb 11 2001, www.sundayherald.com
(13) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mercury Sourcebook: a Guide to Help Your Community Identify and Reduce Releases of Elemental Mercury. Section III, Mercury Use: Dentists, p249-292.
www.epa.gov/grtlakes/bnsdocs/hgsbook/index.html; & Wisconsin Mercury Sourcebook: Dentists www.glrppr.org/contacts/fullrecord.cfm?sectordocid=1153;
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; & (c) Doctors Data Inc.; Fecal Elements Test; P.O.Box 111, West Chicago, Illinois, 60186-0111; http://www.doctorsdata.com/repository.asp?id=43
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(b) AMSA, Mercury Source Control/Pollution Prevention, http://city.palo-alto.ca.us/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=3745
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, p5,
& International DAMS Newsletter, Volume XIII, Spring/Summer 2000.
(15) Household mercury complicates EPA Rule, A. Huslin, Washington Post, Aug 26,2000, pg B2.
(16)United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, June 2003, The National Listing of Fish and Wildlife Advisories: Summary of 2002 Data, www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/ & New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Environment Committe Mercury Action Plan, June 1998.; Great Lakes Fish Advisories, http://www.glrppr.org/contacts/gltopichub.cfm?sectorid=43#103
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(18) Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury (2000), pp. 304‑332: Risk Characterization and Public Health
Implications, Nat'l Academy Press 2000. www.nap.edu
(19) DAMS Fact Sheet, Dental Amalgam Fillings are the Number One Source of Mercury in People and Exposures from Amalgam Commonly Exceed Government Health Guidelines., www.flcv.com/damspr1.html
(20) Health effects of amalgam fillings and results of replacement of amalgam filings. Over 3000 medical study references (most in Medline) and approx. 60,000 clinical cases of amalgam replacement followed by doctors. www.flcv.com/amalg6.html
News Release, April 7, 2000, MONTREAL URBAN COMMUNITY TO LEGISLATE RE
(b) City of Toronto, by-law No. 457-2000, To regulate the discharge of sewage and land drainage,
enacted by Council, July 6, 2000;
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(23) (a)Methyl Mercury Contamination and Emission to the Atmosphere from Soil Amended with Municipal Sewage Sludge, Anthony Carpi et al, U.S. Dept. of Energy Oak Ridge National Lab(ORNL), Journal Environ. Quality 26:1650-1655 (1997); & ORNL, Sunlight-mediated Emission of Elemental Mercury from Soil Amended with Sewerage Sludge, Env Sci & Tech, 31(7):2085-91; &Press Release: ORNL finds green plants fertilized by sewer sludge emit organic and inorganic mercury, www.ornl.gov/Press_Releases/archive/mr19960117‑01.html; & (b) National Research Council, NAS, Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices , www.nap.edu.; & (c) Maine Toxics Action Center, Toxic sludge: threatening farm lands and public health, Oct 2001. www.toxicsaction.org/tacsludgereport10_30_01.pdf; & Genetic Analysis of Drinking Water www.toxicsaction.org/tacsludgereport10_30_01.pdf;
(24) High mercury levels in rain throughout U.S., www.flcv.com/rainhg.html
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(27) National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Health risks of land-applying sewage sludge July 8, 2002
(28) Canada-wide Standards: A Pollution Prevention Program for Dental Amalgam Waste, J Can Dent Assoc 2001; 67:270-3 www.cda-adc.ca/jcda/vol-67/issue-5/270.html & (b) A.O. Adegbembo, P.A. Watson, S.J. Lugowski, The weight of wastes generated by removal of dental amalgam restorations and the concentration of mercury in dental wastewater; J. Canadian Dental Assoc., 2002, 68(9): 553-8.
(29) Methylmercury in Canada, exposure of First Nations and Inuit residents to methylmercury in the environment, Health Canada, Volume 3, 1999.
(30) Christopher J. Kennedy, Uptake and accumulation of mercury from dental amalgam in the common goldfish,Carassius auratus; Environmental Pollution, Volume 121, Issue 3, March 2003, Pages 321-326
(31)Leistevuo J, Leistevuo T, Tenovuo J. Mercury in saliva and the risk of exceeding limits for sewage in relation to exposure to amalgam fillings; Arch Environ Health 2002 Jul-Aug;57(4):366-70; &
(32) Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK , Oct 2005
emissions from crematoria, Defra/
UK Environment Agency’s Local Authority Unit, http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/crematoria/index.htm
Technical contact person: Bernard Windham
President and Research Coordinator, DAMS International
firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 850-878-9024